I’m a goal oriented person who hoped to read 35 books this year. I’m thrilled to report that I have ended up reading 45 books, with time for at least one more in 2018. I use Goodreads to track books that I want to read, books that I’ve read, and to see what my friends are reading. Consider using the Goodreads app to improve your own enjoyment of and engagement in reading books.
Ten books stood out for me in 2018:
Ten Million Steps by M.J. Eberhart – M. J. Eberhart, aka Nimblewill Nomad, was a 60-year-old newly retired doctor in January 1998 when he set off on a foot journey that carried him 4,400 miles (twice the length of the Appalachian Trail) from the Florida Keys to the far north of Quebec. It is also the first known public report of hiking the International Appalachian Trail, an extension of the AT from Baxter State Park through northern Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec.
On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moore– Moore is a young man who is already a a huge writer that has won multiple awards for his nonfiction work. As a hiker, I found the whole book interesting, but the Prologue and Epilogue holds the best writing about long distance hiking and “hiker-trash” philosophy that this hiker has ever read.
Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age– “Through fascinating profiles and first-person anecdotes, Bercovici illuminates the science and strategies extending the careers of elite older athletes, uncovers the latest advances in fields from nutrition to brain science to virtual reality, and offers empowering insights about how the rest of us can find peak performance at any age.”- from Goodreads
This Land Is Our Land- Ken Ilgunas– “Inspired by the United States’ history of roaming, and taking guidance from present-day Europe, Ilgunas calls into question our entrenched understanding of private property and provocatively proposes something unheard of: opening up American private property for public recreation. He imagines a future in which folks everywhere will have the right to walk safely, explore freely, and roam boldly–from California to the New York island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.” – From Goodreads
Gut: The Inside Story- Julia Enders : I’ve read a half dozen or so books about the connection between gut health/diversity and functional performance and this one is fun, brief, easy to understand, and well focused.
The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life- Rodney Dietert
“How would you react if you learnt that the microbes in, on and around your body could be the key to your physical and mental well-being? This is the enthusiastic claim made here. And it’s certainly a thought-provoking assertion. The metaphor of the “superorganism” represents the claim that human being cannot be understood in isolation of the bacterial and archaean colonies that live inside it and help it survive and strive.” -Otto Lehto
The Overstory- Richard Powers – This is the only fiction book on my list. “From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us.” – Goodreads
Reading the Forested Landscape- Tom Wessels This book is a re-read for me. Given my almost daily forays out into the various ecological locations depicted graphically and verbally in this book, I refer to it multiple times most days. It is essential reading for exploring the edges of abandoned forests and the overgrown fields and swamps in coastal Maine, where I live.
The Man Who Walked Backward- Ben Montgomery I’ve started to listen to audio books while driving. There’s plenty to choose from at my local library. Here’s the first I tried out and I loved it. I chose it after reading Montgomery’s Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, the best book I read four years ago. I wasn’t the only one who thought it exceptionally strong. Montgomery won the 2014 National Outdoor Book Awards for History/Biography for his story of the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times. I reviewed the book here.
“In The Man Who Walked Backward, Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery charts Plennie Wingo’s backwards trek across the America that gave rise to Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, and the New Deal. With the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as a backdrop, Montgomery follows Plennie across the Atlantic through Germany, Turkey, and beyond, and details the daring physical feats, grueling hardships, comical misadventures, and hostile foreign police he encountered along the way. A remarkable and quirky slice of Americana, The Man Who Walked Backward paints a rich and vibrant portrait of a jaw-dropping period of history.”- Goodreads
The Book of the Hut -John Silverio Another book that I have re-read. I wrote a review of it here. Jack’s book inspired me to build a 14 foot diameter octagon at my Maine camp on Hobbs Pond. I plan to head over to the hut today and light the wood stove for the first time. There will be a ” grand opening” of the little building sometime this spring. Let me know if you’d like to visit !
Please be aware of the current 30% off sale of my own new book – In the Path of Young Bulls. When ordered though this website, from now until Jan.1, 2019 the book is only $19.99 plus shipping. Happy Holidays!
Buy In the Path of Young Bulls